Valley Girls Basketball Coach Previews Monday Playoff Game
Dunmore, WV – Marshall Murray has been the girls’ basketball coach at Valley-Fayette for 16 years. Although his Lady Greyhounds rarely play the Pocahontas Lady Warriors, Murray knows what to expect when his team plays at Pocahontas Monday night in a first-round sectional playoff game.
“They seem to be similar to what they’ve had in the past,” he said. “Some good shooters – a lot of pressure on you coming up the floor, and being able to bring some folks off the bench who can play and not miss a beat. So, we have our hands full.”
The number-7 ranked Lady Warriors finished 18-4 and the young Greyhounds finished 6-13, but the Greyhounds played a tougher schedule, including AAA teams Riverside and Capitol, single-A powerhouse Charleston Catholic and AA number-three Summers County.
Warriors coach Tim McClung said last week he was not underestimating the Greyhounds – for good reason. The Greyhounds have no seniors on their roster, but a passel of talent.
Murray says junior Alexis Payne is averaging 12 points a game, but has more than doubled her output in the last four games.
“Probably the last three or four games averaging like 30 points a game,” he said. “She’s close to six-foot tall and can shoot outside, inside, play guard, center, forward. Pretty hard to guard, for most people.”
Finding herself double-teamed more often than not, Payne responded by shooting more threes.
Murray says freshman Abby Buchan, averaging 12 points a game, is a star in the making.
“The point guard is a freshman – Abby Buchan,” he said. “A really good shooter – good penetrator. She just has a knack for getting to the hole. Probably our highest percentage shooter on the team.”
Greyhound forward Kelsey Bird leads the team in three-point shooting.
Murray compares the two teams’ strengths and weaknesses.
“Overall, I think they probably have more shooters,” he said. “A little bit better than what we have, as far as that – just natural scorers like that. But, I think, in the setting, our speed probably matches up with theirs. We may actually be a better rebounding team than what they are.”
Murray says his Greyhounds are confident their tough schedule has prepared them for playoff action.
“You really get more focus out of the kids because it is a one-and-done situation,” he said. “What we have faced with some other people kind of gives us a feel for what we’re going to face up there. We played a pretty tough schedule this year, so, I think it ought to be a good game.”
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Warrior Coliseum.